Skip to main content

tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  March 25, 2013 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT

4:00 pm
. today president obama made a statement about harriet tubman. she was born into slavery but fled to freedom in 1849. soon after she joined the underground railroad. a secret network that helped guide run away slaves to freedom. tubman risked her life repeatedly by going back to the south. with today's announcement, this stop is now protected by law. so generations of americans can remember those struggles and those sacrifices. we need to remember the past so we can address the problems of the president.
4:01 pm
a program is put in place to help the legacy of slavery. this comes week after the law designated to protect minority rights in some places with an ugly history. today we also learned that a democratic governor in arkansas had to veto republican voter i.d. bill to become a state law. these are serious cases and serious issues. issues born from our past. the great southern writer willi william faulkner wrote he, the past is not dead. it's not even past. we must not forget the struggles that continue today. and we must muster courage, imagine the courage it took for tubman to keep going back in the south, possibly being captured
4:02 pm
or killed. we don't need that much courage, just some of that courage. we'll face the deals that are trying to be cut to turn the clock back on progress in america. we all need to have a little tubman in us. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. wanted. profiles in courage. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this. remember john f. kennedy's book "profiles in courage"? it's about u.s. senators who had to cast courageous votes that some of the people back home didn't like. such a vote is coming soon to a senator near you. the issue, gun safety. the nra is out there working gun
4:03 pm
owners loading them up with the worst case scenarios. if someone does a background check on you, count on that person to turn in your name to washington. next step, the creation of the national registry of all guns and name and address of all those who bought them. this means the pressure is now on the senators, alarmed, in a personal sense by those young kids whose lives were wiped away at 6 years old. will they vote what they think is right or buckle to the national rifle association and to second amendment fanatics? tonight we debate the profiles in courage. those u.s. senators for whom the gun safety vote could make all the difference. mark glaze is the director of mayor bloomberg's group, mayor's against illegal guns. and jim johnson is the balmer county police chief and the chair of the national law enforcement partnership to prevent gun violence. chief, i want you to start with this question. what is at stake for law enforcement officials than
4:04 pm
having say, the background check? >> certainly the safety of americans is at stake here. certainly we know there are 30,000 people a year killed by firearms violence and a background check. nearly 6.6 million firearms each year are transferred without a background check. nearly 40% of all these firearms that go back and forth. police officers are killed each and every year by individuals who got their firearms outside of licensed firearms dealers. >> okay. let me go to mark. your group and mayor bloomberg are running a new ad in 13 states hoping to put the same kind of pressure on congress from your point of view, gun safety, that the nra does from the other side. those states happen to be the homes of key senators, especially democrats in red states who are crucial to getting background checks through. let's watch your ad. >> for me, guns are for hunting and protecting my family. i believe in the second
4:05 pm
amendment. and i'll fight to protect it. with rights come responsibilities. that's why i support comprehensive background checks so criminals and the dangerously mentally ill can't buy guns. that protects my rights and my family. >> tell congress don't protect criminals, vote to protect gun rights and our families with comprehensive background checks. demand action now. >> the ad was meant by -- actually met by a statement this afternoon from arkansas democratic senator mark pryor who said simply "i don't take gun advice from the mayor of new york city. i listen to arkansans." that is kind of thing i think wayne lapierre was pushing on sunday on "meet the press." pushing the idea it's about mike bloomberg, not about your own safety from guns. >> well, a couple of things. that's all we can ask for is pryor listens to arkansans. they think every gun buyer should get a background check no matter who they buy the gun from or where they buy it. this get background checks because they buy them at licensed dealers. if you buy the gun online or buy the gun at a gun show, there's no background check. that's where the criminals and
4:06 pm
seriously mentally ill go to get their guns. all we want is to close that loophole. we think it's going to happen and think it will happen with senator pryor's support. >> what do you think of lapierre yesterday? he is trying to make it one of these country mice against the city mice. he's trying to basically say if you want to sand up against your community against the big shots from gotham, you can vote for more guns. you know what's going on here. >> if wayne lapierre is the country mouse, he may be the only making money to preach the kind of stuff he preached yesterday. he tries to make this about mime bloomberg and nra. that's a waste of an important national moment when everybody in this country, nra member, gun owner, and person who has never
4:07 pm
looked at a gun in their life, aught to be having a conversation about where there is common ground. in discussing this with people out in the country since newtown and for the past five years. despite what you hear on news programs, there's actually an enormous and pretty durable consensus about what you would do if you wanted to save a lot of lives but at the same time respect the rights of law-abiding citizens. it's background checks. that's what everyone agrees on. >> i think they do. the numbers sure prove it. anyway, mayor mike bloomberg of new york argued yesterday the public is on his side when it comes to background checks in particular. polls show nine out of ten americans support the background check. lapierre chose to blame the messenger and attack the new york mayor, himself. here he is, himself. let's watch. >> i don't think there's every
4:08 pm
been an issue where the public has spoken so clearly where congress hasn't eventually understood and done the right if 90% of the public wants something and their representatives vote against that, common sense says they're going to have a price to pay for that. >> he can't spend enough of his $27 billion to try to impose his will on the american public. they don't want him in their restaurants. they don't want him in their homes. they don't want him telling them what food to eat. they sure don't want him telling tell what defense firearms to own. and he can't buy america. >> chief, back in the '60s when we had some gun control, safe streets act, it was aimed at criminals, people who were professional criminals who were heavily armed. a chance to fight crime by using gun control. the right has sort of kidnapped that argument in a way. i want your reaction to that. you need a gun to protect yourself because the cops won't do it. >> certainly all across america today, law enforcement responds to hundreds of thousands of calls for service.
4:09 pm
lives are lost. police officers' lives are lost each and every year defending our society. look, i'm a protector like many law enforcement officers across the nation. elected officials and the citizens have asked us, what can we do to make our nation a safer place? and background checks is one effective way of making that happen. a capacity on these magazines and certainly we continue to be seeking a ban on these assault weapons as well. in this case, bloomberg is on the mark. >> what do you do when you get a call there's some criminal out there, an assailant of some kind who's got a semiautomatic weapon in his hands? what do you do? do you have to escalate the police response? have to arm men up to the teeth? how do you do it? i want to give people a sense of this. what's a police patrolman carry in baltimore county? >> certainly what we've had to do over the years is we've upgraded from a resolver i used to carry and i was a rookie officer to a semiautomatic weapon.
4:10 pm
we've used the shotgun in place for many years. we upgraded to a patrol rifle, an assault rifle with a magazine of about 30. in fact, i don't think there's any place where more than 30 in law enforcement for a number of reasons. but in baltimore county, we've had shootings at police officers using an assault weapon. and frankly, you don't take a semiautomatic pistol to an assault weapons fight. you just can't do it. you have to upgrade your weaponry as well. >> you started with a .38. a special. believe it or not, i used to carry one of them when i was a capitol policeman. i was checked out. that is real escalation. i want to get back to mark on this. if you think about the way this thing has been fought, i'd fight it the way you are fighting it with the mayors, the pitch on television which is the good guys don't need these kind of guns. i mean, the bad guys don't need to keep them. they're the guns that are going to kill you. whether a person has a mental, emotional problem, or a professional criminal. they're the ones who want these guns. they want to get them illegally, undercover, want to get them from suitcases at some hotel
4:11 pm
somewhere. that's what you have to keep fighting it seems to me. >> that's exactly right. as much as the nra wants to make this about mayor bloomberg, this is about 900 mayors around the country. police chiefs. thousands of gun violence survivors. leaders of clergy. university presidents. everybody you can imagine coming together and saying, look, the problem is not that, you know, there are too many good guys who don't have guns. the problem is that sometimes the good guys like police die because bad guys also have guns and we make it far too easy for them to get them though it's been illegal under federal law for 40 years for people with a rap sheet to buy a gun, but they go somewhere other than a licensed dealer and get them all the time. pretty modest reform. >> let's talk about something -- i really respect bob casey, the senator from pennsylvania. he's going through it -- i met his wife the other night at the st. patrick's day party. here's a guy who's really going
4:12 pm
through a serious development here. bob casey, who had been an "a" to "b" plus member of the nra. support he's gotten at home after the newtown shootings. here he is on "morning show." let's watch. >> a lot of criticism, but that's -- but also support. that's the way it is in our state. it's a pretty -- it's a tough issue for people in our state. but i think for me the criticism or the impact of that criticism will come over time. this isn't a question of taking guns away or confiscation. none of these measures would have the impact of in any way taking away someone's right to bear arms, to protect themselves, to hunt, or to do anything really. if you take a step now that could prevent one more newtown ten years from now, 50 years from now, i want to be able to say when i had that vote, i moved in that direction as opposed to staying in the lane i was in. >> chief johnson, how important is that voice we just heard? >> i think it's very significant, and frankly, law enforcement across the nation from small towns to major city chiefs, strongly believe a national background check is
4:13 pm
necessary. look, there's been a lot of improvement over the years adding infrastructure into the system to help keep prohibitive purchasers from getting these guns. we need to do more. this measure will save lives across this great nation. >> thank you very much. we haven't had a chance to go to karl rove. karl rove is out there demagoguing this issue saying if you have background check you're going to have a national registry and confiscation is just down the road. thank you, mark. we have to keep up this fight. thank you, chief. coming up, the biggest week ever on gay marriage. the supreme court is hearing two cases this week. one on california's prop 8. the other on the defense of marriage act, doma. will the supreme court follow public opinion? or will it stand and yell, stop? in the 1970s the republican party began two decades in the wilderness when it swung too far to the left from where the country was at the time. now it's the republican party's turn. new polling suggests the gop is at its worst. the hard right is trying to keep
4:14 pm
itself in office and the party out of the white house, it seems. remember last year how republicans were insisting all the calls were dead wrong right up until mitt romney actually lost? with those numbers? and even after that? well, they're at it again. now it's the polls on gay marriage that are wrong they say. all those polls are wrong. don't believe a word of them, they say. finally, let me finish with people who were the cheerleaders, when their job was to be referee. the press. in the buildup to the iraq war. members and their families. life brings obstacles. usaa brings retirement advice.
4:15 pm
for current and former military members and their families. get advice from the people who share your values. for our free usaa retirement guide, call 877-242-usaa. as i mentioned karl rove is apparently trying to carry favor with the hard right again after his call for more establishment party candidates. yesterday he sounded the fears of gun owners who think the government is overreaching. let's listen to him now in an exchange with abc's terry moran. >> this is prompted by the sandy hook murders. those guns were legally purchased with a background check.
4:16 pm
this would not have stopped something like that. let's be very careful about quickly trampling on the rights of people. look, do you want to get something done? then stop scaring people. don't say we're going to keep a registry of all these guns. let's not make it so impracticable -- >> you're scaring people with this orwellian sense that black helicopters and the government, if we register gun, are going to confiscate americans' guns. that kind of paranoia -- >> with all due respect, it is not paranoia. >> who's going to confiscate all the guns? >> people have a fear of this. why do it? why do you need it? >> i guess we're all fair game now, karl. get great values on your favorite lexus models during the command performance sales event. this is the pursuit of perfection.
4:17 pm
during the command performance the people of bp made a commitment to the gulf., and every day since, we've worked hard to keep it. today, the beaches and gulf are open for everyone to enjoy. we've shared what we've learned, so we can all produce energy more safely. bp's also committed to america. we support nearly two-hundred-fifty thousand jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger.
4:18 pm
welcome back to "hardball." it's a historic week at the supreme court, as two major gay marriage cases land before the judges tomorrow. the judges hear arguments over whether california's gay marriage ban, prop 8 out there, could lead to marriage rights
4:19 pm
for -- their citizen could lead to marriage rights for same-sex couples all over the 50 states. the second case comes wednesday. that will determine whether the federal defense of marriage act, doma, is even constitutional. a legal showdown comes at a unique time in history of the gay rights movement. a majority of americans now back marriage rights for everyone. among young people the numbers are overwhelming. a recent "washington post"/abc poll shows how the tide of history has turned on this question. take a look at the shift here. nine years ago only 10% of self-identified conservative people backed marriage equality. today 33%. that's the big change. among catholic, supporters are going up by 19 points. among minorities, up 28 points. what a change. anyway, today that figure is 61% now. anyway, will the courts be equally guided by the winds of change? we'll find out soon. theodore is one of the elite attorneys in the prop 8 case representing the two couples fighting the california ban. and joe is an old friend of this
4:20 pm
show, he's a partner of the consulting firm gavin. he's a former president of the human rights campaign. joe, thank you for coming back. you're like the daniel boone of this movement. you go back so far. i've known you 15, 20 years. when a lot of us thought of marriage way back when, a lot of people said, don't push it too far, don't let that be the issue. things like that. what is your sense right now? by the way, let's talk about what really broke today. today two u.s. senators became the latest elected officials at a very high level to come out in support of marriage equality. claire mccaskill wrote, "i've come to the conclusion. my views on this subject have changed over time, but as many of my trends, i find myself unable to look them in the eye without honestly confronting this uncomfortable inequality." what do you make? this tide is turning here. >> one of the most powerful things i think central to all of this is this atmosphere of inevitability that has been created.
4:21 pm
and that people feel, senator mccaskill, senator warner. back to the president. really, back to the fight in new york where so many different people, barbara bush, the daughter of the former president, sports figures, all felt the need to come out and be in support of marriage and ultimately to stand on the right side of history. as those people come out, they lend to this atmosphere of inevitability. that i think has built up and built up and really nobody i think has played more of a role in that than the folks that ted and others have represented. >> i had a ski instructor once who said first there's the terror, then the horror, then the accident. i think a lot of people feared this. there was a lot of unclear, unknown fear. once people see it in all these states, they go, i don't feel pain because of this, this isn't bothering me, right? >> not only do they not feel any pain, but the other thing we have on our side is the passage of time. as time goes by, they see that these arguments that the
4:22 pm
opposition have made have fallen by the wayside. we were talking earlier that you can't find a consistent argument over this. >> that's what i want to get to. the prop 8 case went to the appellate, the ninth circuit out there. nobody could come up with a good argument against it. explain how that's going to play into the debate this week. >> when we put this on trial, which was really unusual. we had a 12-day trial, now has been 3 years ago. the arguments ruled out were different than during the campaign. first, protect your children from being caught in school about gay marriage. they switched to another argument. they abandoned that. they can't stick to a rationale. this is harming people, harming their children, excluding our clients and millions of americans from this cherished institution of marriage for no reason. >> tell me about your clients. >> they're wonderful. two couples. i've known them for years. >> male or female? >> one female, one couple lesbians. fabulous people. they're in love. they want to get married. >> how long have they been
4:23 pm
together? >> both over a decade. both couples. sandy and chris have four boys. four children they're raising. they just want to be like everybody else. >> they were legally married, right? >> they were married in the first go-round. those were invalidated. they had it given to them and taken away. >> what's your best argument, once you give a right you can't take it back? once you give them effective rights? >> really there's a fundamental right to marry everybody has. the supreme court recognized this over a dozen times. and our clients are being discriminated against for no rational justification tomorrow. >> no justice will be watched more closely than anthony kennedy. kennedy penned the court's two major decisions supporting gay rights but is also known as a constitutional law scholar epps wrote in "the atlanta," "i have little doubt his heart is telling kennedy to strike down
4:24 pm
doma and leave prop 8 alone. it's possible that opinion as the justices say, won't write, meaning that there's no way for kennedy to embrace state authority over marriage without saying something bad about gays ands that he has always been unwilling to do." i watched him in the lawrence case in texas about bans on, what's that term? sodomy? and all that stuff is thrown out. once you throw that out, there's no argument against same-sex marriage. >> right. yeah. i defer to ted on reading the tea leaves of the court. >> what's your impassion for the case? what do you say for people who are against this? >> what do i say for people who are against it? look, i think at the end of the day as more and more of us come forward and help people understand the circumstances of our lives and the again jgenuin
4:25 pm
inequities we face in the absence of marriage, and what is so important to remind people is that the civil institution of marriage is in place when we need it, when we are at our most vulnerable, looking out for one another's welfare, one another's health care. those are things people don't think about when they think about the institution of marriage and why the institution of marriage is so important. we seek to build families and homes and build a safety net around one another like everybody else does. we ought to be able to enjoy the same rights and responsibilities of everyone else. >> that's the constitutional argument. it seems to me it's about liberty. liberty clause in the 14th amendment. >> i've heard you say that before and i've always agreed with you. in the lawrence case, talked about liberty, autonomy, dignity. these are people who want to be free and be like everybody else and these laws restrict that and it puts a stamp of a badge of inferiority on those couples and on their children. it's causing harm. the evidence we had at the trial, undisputed. children will be better off.
4:26 pm
their own expert, our opponent said children will be better off. he even said we'd be more american as a nation the day we recognize these unions as marriage. >> can you cite the declaration? >> we did in the conclusion of our belief. >> it is our founding document. lincoln was right. four score and seven years ago. you can't beat the declaration. it's better than the constitution. thank you, as always. good luck in court. up next, remember when republicans said the polls were skewed and mitt romney was really going to win the election? they're at it again. the same crowd. this time marriage equality. all these numbers are wrong, don't believe a word of them. that's what they're saying. gary bower. don't believe a word he says. anyway, this is "hardball." the place for politics. (announcer) scottrade knows our clients trade
4:27 pm
and invest their own way. with scottrade's smart text, i can quickly understand my charts, and spend more time trading. their quick trade bar lets my account follow me online so i can react in real-time. plus, my local scottrade office is there to help. because they know i don't trade like everybody. i trade like me. i'm with scottrade. (announcer) scottrade. voted "best investment services company." olay ultra moisture body wash can with more moisturizers than seven bottles of the leading body wash. with ultra moisture your body wash is anything but basic. soft, smooth skin with olay. omnipotent of opportunity. you know how to mix business... with business. and from national.
4:28 pm
because only national lets you choose any car in the aisle. and go. you can even take a full-size or above. and still pay the mid-size price. i could get used to this. [ male announcer ] yes, you could business pro. yes, you could. go national. go like a pro. a talking car. but i'll tell you what impresses me. a talking train. this ge locomotive can tell you exactly where it is, what it's carrying, while using less fuel. delivering whatever the world needs, when it needs it. ♪ after all, what's the point of talking if you don't have something important to say? ♪
4:29 pm
ha! back to "hardball." now to the sideshow. remember the right wing talk before the 2012 election about bad polling? several polls show the country's
4:30 pm
views on same-sex marriage are now shifting in favor of marriage equality. here's the "washington post"/abc poll just last week. 58% said it should be legal. just 36% illegal. enter gary bower. president of the american values. a conservative group opposed to gay marriage. on fox yesterday, bower was
4:31 pm
liberal states. in fact, those marriage amendments that i supported that would keep marriage a man and a woman outran mitt romney and four liberal states by average of four points. >> all right. >> even though the anti-marriage amendments he mentioned did better than romney, they did lost. that's another not so winning argument for gary. an interesting side note on this week's supreme court hearings on gay marriage. tuesday's hearing will be about prop 8, the california law that bans gay marriage. one audience member in particular has a personal connection. jean, a 48-year-old gay resident who wants the right to marry her partner. she's the first cousin of chief justice john roberts. she does not know her cousin's position on same sax marriage. she told "the l.a. times," "i believe he sees where the tide is going. i do trust him. i absolutely trust he will go in a good direction." next, here's a couple words you wouldn't expect to be at all related. "star trek" and the irs. here goes. the irs is facing backlash from congress for spending $60,000 on instructional videos in 2010. and one of those instructional videos was a "star trek" parody starring irs employees. the video is now making the rounds.
4:32 pm
>> what is it, bob? >> i just received emergency medical distress call from the planet. chris, they're dying down there. some newfangled disease. i've never seen anything like it. >> they call it the tax gap. >> engineering to get us back to earth as fast as they can. everybody, grab your strategic plans and get ready to beam down. >> shall i wear a ski cap to cover my ears, captain? >> nah, the ears are fine. >> the irs now says that video is not reflective of overall irs video efforts and they have put new standards in place. by the way, the other part of the $60,000 cost was a training video in the form of a "gilligan's island" spoof. finally, the unexpected result of chris christie getting a visit from former nba star shaquille o'neal? from "new york" magazine, "chris christie has to find a way to make shaq his running mate while shaq is in no way qualified to run the country, he is, however, an extremely large person.
4:33 pm
all christie has to do is stand next to him on the campaign trail at all times and his size problem will disappear." shaquille o'neal was meeting with christie to get involved with the state's gun buy-back program. up next, how far out of step is today's republican party with the rest of the country? we've got some new poll data that suggests the republicans are on their own. in fact, they're their own worst enemy. you're watching "hardball." the place for politics. ♪ oh. let's go. from the crack, off the backboard. [ laughs ] dad! [ laughs ] whoo! oh! you're up! oh! oh! so close! now where were we?
4:34 pm
ok, this one's good for two. score! [ male announcer ] share what you love with who you love. kellogg's frosted flakes. they're gr-r-eat! i have obligations. cute tobligations, but obligations.g. i need to rethink the core of my portfolio. what i really need is sleep. introducing the ishares core, building blocks for the heart of your portfolio. find out why 9 out of 10 large professional investors choose ishares for their etfs. ishares by blackrock. call 1-800-ishares for a prospectus which includes investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. read and consider it carefully before investing. risk includes possible loss of principal. like a squirrel stashes nuts, you may be muddling through allergies. try zyrtec® liquid gels. nothing starts working faster than zyrtec® at relieving your allergy symptoms for 24 hours. zyrtec®. love the air. in-wash scent boosters,
4:35 pm
here with my favorite new intern, jimmy. mmm! fresh! and it's been in the closet for 12 weeks! unbelievable! unstopables! follow jimmy on youtube. by the armful? by the barrelful? the carful? how the bowlful? campbell's soups give you nutrition, energy, and can help you keep a healthy weight. campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. humans. even when we cross our "ts" and dot our "i's", we still run into problems. that's why liberty mutual insurance offers accident forgiveness with our auto policies. if you qualify, your rates won't go up due to your first accident. because making mistakes is only human, and so are we. we also offer new car replacement, so if you total your new car, we'll give you the money for a new one. call liberty mutual insurance at...
4:36 pm
and ask us all about our auto features, like guaranteed repairs, where if you get into an accident and use one of our certified repair shops, the repairs are guaranteed for life. so call... to talk with an insurance expert about everything that comes standard with our base auto policy. and if you switch, you could save up to $423. liberty mutual insurance -- responsibility. what's your policy? most of the barngs banks in cyprus were supposed to be open tomorrow but now they are not opening until thursday. italy's highest court will
4:37 pm
decide tomorrow whether american amanda knocks will be retired for the murder of her roommate. and tiger woods is the top rank golfer for the first time in three years. welcome back to "hardball." the beating that republicans took last year has led to a lot of soul searching in the gop about how the party could expand its base and become more competitive nationally. but a new report by the former head of the research center suggested the very things that keep republican members of congress in office are keeping new people out of the party and republicans out of the white house. we'll explain. check this out. in 1992, at the end of the george herbert walker bush presidency, the gop's favorability at 48%. fast forward to this year, 2013, 33% of americans have a favorable view of the party. one in three. 58% judges them unfavorably. that's the lowest favorability for republicans in 20 years.
4:38 pm
the same pew study finds, the same percentage that views them unfavorably. in a "washington post" article, he said he recently found out that only the percentage of people self-identifying as republicans hit historic levels but within that smaller base, the traditional divides between pro-business, economic conservatives, and social conservatives narrowed. they stand on the tea party with taxes and spending, and abortion rights and same-sex marriage. howard fineman is the editorial director for "the huffington post." its media group. joy reid, both msnbc political analysts. this is something i never knew and now i know. you and i, and you i think got used to this, too, that there are, joy, that there are two kinds of republicans. there's the two-fisted business guy, usually a man, who wants to make money, he wants lower taxes, less regulation. that's the reason he's a republican. you have the evangelical republican, religion comes from church, basic moral beliefs. according in this poll, they're the same people. better than that, the business
4:39 pm
conservatives buy into the cultural issues. cultural driven people buy into the business issues. it's heterogeneous. >> it's heterogeneous internally but they turned inward. a generation ago the republican party reached outward and reached to people who had been democrats. they expanded demographically because they got a lot of catholics, got northern catholics in the party who hadn't been there before and got southerners who had been democrats and who were economically diverse. there were a lot of working class and middle class democrats who came over to the republican party. so they were expanding a generation ago by reaching out. what's happened now, because of ideology, because of the focus on ideology, these two groups
4:40 pm
look for ideological overlaps and that's all they talk about. that's all they talk about. in common areas they can agree, whether it's abortion or guns or lower taxes. they're talking to each other, not to the whole country. >> this is getting to be like a diner that only serves one meal. you know, i mean, you want the blue-plate special, lady, or not? don't want the ham and eggs? what's your problem? go to the republican party, buy into pro-life -- i don't like that phrase, but pro-life, antiabortion rights. you have the anti-same-sex marriage and have to be for the tax breaks in the world and buy into that thing and have to dislike the 47%. it seems like you're asking people to buy a whole lot and agree on all this stuff they're selling to go in. >> chris, i think what's happened in part is that success of conservative media has in a lot of ways served to isolate the republican party. i think you're absolutely right. these wings of the party are narrowly focused and spoken to
4:41 pm
by a small set of media, a sense of displacement and real resentment. i think the common thread that runs through these groups is a sense they're out of place in their country. you have social conservatives seeing the culture war slipping away. they are lost. talking about abortion being something most americans believe should be illegal. conservatives who want to hold on to their medicare and medicaid. they believe immigrants, minorities are soaking up benefits they feel they work hard for and deserve. this resentment against others. think that crystalized when barack obama who in a lot of ways the person of him embodies a lot of resentments a lot of folks have, that allowed it to spill out. that combination of media and somebody they can identify as the enemy, somebody like barack obama. it has driven them into a small corner. literally like howard said, they're only able to communicate with each other.
4:42 pm
>> i don't think we've seen anything in america since fdr where the republicans hated him, just hated him. >> by the way, the tone within that group on the gun debate exemplifies this. it's very angry, it's very scared, and if you go on the nra website, for example, they claim to be speaking for this lost sector that joy is talking about. and they're trying to tie defense of gun rights into it which i think is a dangerous thing and it sounds pretty scary, actually. >> look at these numbers, howard and joy. take a look. republicans won five of the six presidential elections from 1968 through '88. during that time, the gop average, look at these numbers, 417 electoral votes in the elections, down to the democrats, 113. they beat the democrats on average by more than 300 electoral votes during that heyday. in the next six elections from '92 through last year the
4:43 pm
republican electoral vote average fell to 211. democrats zoomed up to 327. here's another way to look at the shift in that same period. in the earlier presidential six elections, four states, vermont, new jersey, illinois, and california voted republican every time, in the last six they voted democratic every time. the states account for 92 electoral votes. i'm amazed vermont once was republican. i keep thinking of ben & jerry's and bernie sanders. >> it's no accident to me, chris, this began to shift with bill clinton. bill clinton very much made it his mission to move the democratic party, quote, to the middle. you know, that was the democratic leadership council. they're not going to give up on the south. even today bill clinton is obsessed with this notion of the sorting out of america. he's always referring to bill bishop's book. when i saw clinton the other week, he mentioned it to me. meaning the country is disaggregating. if bill clinton stood for anything, it was to try to end that kind of thing.
4:44 pm
he didn't succeed, but he began to lay the groundwork for the type of campaign barack obama ran and won two elections on. >> fascinated by this moment. >> yeah. >> he came up to you, the former president. >> we were talking. >> charismatic gentleman. he came up to you and said, howard -- >> he mentioned it out of the blue. there was a reason for that. we were in kentucky talking about the possibility of somebody like ashley judd running and is it possible for kentucky to get a democratic message these days of a national democratic message or not? at least the democrats are thinking in that way. that's my point. the republicans right now don't seem -- >> they're holding on. >> they're holding on. if you read that report, that $10 million report they did, it doesn't -- >> joy, you know, remember -- i don't know if you're old enough to remember the story about the dog food. a great can, great label, great name, but the dog wouldn't eat the dog food because they didn't like it. content or packaging? it's not packaging. their salesmanship they think is the problem. reince priebus doesn't think he's a good salesman.
4:45 pm
it seems like it's the product. it seems like the message has gotten through. that 47% thing, you know, that got out there, thanks to david corn and others and jimmy carter's grandson and that waiter, bartender, that was the real message. >> absolutely. what was that about? that was about saying the question that was asked before mitt romney answered with that famous infamous 47% was how can we get those people to take care of themselves? why do they want to be dependent and bailed out by us? it was resentment. the sense of resentment drives republican politics right now. the reason that those numbers are so small in terms of electoral votes is because the republican party, and it's not in this report, it's becoming a party of the south and of that middle part of the country where each state has maybe four, five, six electoral college votes. republicans can't win in the big cities, the big metropolitan areas. they're becoming rural and southern. it's really no surprise the message is starting to sound very confederate, very alienated and very sort of almost as if
4:46 pm
their part of the country, their part of the country is at war with this new america they don't understand and resent. >> the next logical step is to disaggregate the electoral votes in individual states. >> exactly. >> there's a drive in pennsylvania now by republicans -- >> i know. >> -- to say let's not have a statewide tally on electoral votes. >> i know what they're doing. they know what they're doing. anybody of any color, white or brown or black ought to notice what it's about. it's about race. >> they don't understand, if they go in that direction, they're driving themselves further -- >> the whole message to minorities, we're trying to disenfranchise you. come up with a new literacy text -- >> they'll stick with rural areas where no people are. >> thank you, guys. thank you, howard. you're all right. thank you, joy. he's more vintage like me. you through sheer genius. it's caught up with us. up next, first the truth,
4:47 pm
then the brave. how the people who were supposed to be the referees in the war going up to the war became its cheerleaders on the way. we'll be right back. we're talking iraq and how it happened. this is "hardball," the place for politics. as your life and career change, fidelity is there for your personal economy, helping you readjust your retirement plan along the way. rethink how you're invested. and refocus as your career moves forward.
4:48 pm
wherever you are today, a fidelity ira has a wide range of investment choices to help you fine-tune your personal economy. call today and we'll make it easy to move that old 401(k) to a fidelity no-fee ira. well, big news out of south dakota, actually. nbc news has confirmed senator tim johnson says he won't run for re-election in 2014, giving the democrats another open seat
4:49 pm
in a red state to defend. this is going to be a tough one. senator johnson's retirement had been expected. he follows four colleagues on the democratic side to step down from the senate this time. frank lautenberg of new jersey, west virginia's jay rockefeller, iowa's tom harkin, michigan's carl levin. pretty much heavyweights there. republican side, mike johanns and georgia's shacksby chambliss is also stepping down. we'll be right back. and noodl. a kite, a breeze, a dunk of grilled cheese. catches and throws, and spaghettio's. a wand, some wings, soup with good things. sidewalks and doodles and wholesome noodles. puddles and pails and yes, puppy dog tails. for a lunch like this, there's a hug and a kiss. because that's what happy kids are made of. campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. because that's what happy kids are made of. it's not what you think. it's a phoenix with 4 wheels.
4:50 pm
it's a hawk with night vision goggles. it's marching to the beat of a different drum. and where beauty meets brains. it's big ideas with smaller footprints. and knowing there's always more in the world to see. it's the all-new lincoln mkz. departure. hertz gold plus rewards also offers ereturn-- our fastest way to return your car.
4:51 pm
just note your mileage and zap ! you're outta there ! we'll e-mail your receipt in a flash, too. it's just another way you'll be traveling at the speed of hertz. the "times" wrote a number of really bad stories. inadequately sourced, unskeptical stories about saddam's weapons capabilities. the stories were rewarded with lavish front page display. "times" also wrote a lot of very good stories. more skeptical stories. those tended to be on page a-13.
4:52 pm
>> that's our story tonight. welcome back to "hardball." that's the "new york times" great bill keller. the editorial decisions wound up carrying great weight, of course, in getting the american public to support the war. in friday's "washington post," for example, it's pointed out there was some skeptical coverage but it was often buried inside the paper. like this article which ran on . it was headlined, "bush claimed dubious allegations about iraq," page a-13, 13 pages into the neighborhood. and on the sunday edition, "the washington post" put this on the front page. "audacious mission, awesome risk: bold war plan emphasizes lightning attacks and complete logistics." but buried inside that edition of the paper were more skeptical articles headlined, "u.s. risks isolation, breakdown of old alliances in case of war." "u.s. lacks specifics on banned arms." "u.s. misstepped led to failed
4:53 pm
diplomacy." this is an amazing story and a tragic un. david corn was a skeptic of the war before, during, and after. joan walsh was news editor at salon in the lead up to the war and also a war skeptic. both are msnbc's analysts. joan, you've been in editing, and this is the same thing that you've got bill keller saying and the same thing that the media critic or media writer for "the washington post," admitting now, and it's way too late, that the placement of the story is for more pizazz or embedding, whatever you want to call it, joining the troops. but none of the good edward r. murrah reporting that we later came that we identify with murrah was critical journalism, not rah-rah journalism. >> right. that stuff was there, chris, but it was really hidden. and paul fari's piece is really good, but there was a line that said the press wasn't a success, but it wasn't a failure either.
4:54 pm
it made me think about kids' t-ball games where nobody's a loser, everybody's a winner. and there's a lot of revisionism that goes on there. where a lot of reporters did their jobs, and that's true and great. but the most damning thing in that entire piece is the great walter pinkus wrote a lot of critical things for "the washington post," was a skeptic of the war. and he averaged, i think, page a-18 for his wonderful coverage. while, as you said, all the whiz bang, golly gee, patriotic, rah-rah stuff was on the front page of both "the washington post" and "the new york times," by and large. >> and it was backing up all the op-ed writing, which was all war hawkish anyway. pinkus was a great reporter. it was only in the days after we realized there was no wmds in the days after the eration that people began to write a lot of those stories in "the washington post" and say, wait a minute, all along we should have done better than this. >> but before the invasion, for a year priority the invasion,
4:55 pm
people, jonathan landing and others were writing pieces that were very critical -- >> were they getting in the paper? >> not all of them. some weren't covering this story. ann walter and others at "the washington post," in the run-up, were coming up with some real good stories. you know, "new york times" would do a story saying saddam hussein has these aluminum tubes that will be used to make nuclear material for bombs. a few day s later, "the washington post" had a story that said, wait a minute. that wasn't put on page a-1, it was put on page a-13 or 18. and that was done for two-fold. the writers at "the washington post" didn't have full confidence in their own reporters. how do we know if they're getting it right? but, also, the tie, the emphasis in the media at large was going in favor of the bush argument, in favor of the war, because -- >> what's the bottom line here?
4:56 pm
>> because it was after 9/11 and it was easier to go along and ben bradley had this great line that he said a couple years ago. he said the hardest thing in the world for a newspaper in washington is to call the president of the united states a liar. and that's what this would have entailed. the big stories with and this is what paul fairy didn't get to. the big story of the time was that the white house, we talked about this, bush and cheney were perpetuating a gigantic swindle. >> let me get back to you. what pinkus said in his piece today, he points out the problem of any kind of journalist. if you're using government sources to get to the real truth, even your favorite source, even the ones you really think are mavericks and honest with you, he said there weren't enough for them. the government didn't know what was going on in iraq. you're not over there on the ground, you're looking around the spy agencies, these defense intelligence. a lot of these agencies like the cia were skeptical of the war. maybe the top guy wasn't, but the men and women in the belly
4:57 pm
of it were thinking about this war being bs. >> well, yeah. john judas wrote a great piece about this in the new republic last week which criticizes his own new republic and talks about the loneliness of being a "new republic" writer -- >> because marty perris was there too. >> it was one dimensional. he said there were career cia, career state department people. there were cadres of people who were horrified what was being done with their work, but they weren't being paid attention to. >> as we say in journalism, more coming on this. anyway, thank you. a lot more from us on this. david corn and john walsh, thank you both. we'll be right back after this. and every day since, we've worked hard to keep it. today, the beaches and gulf are open for everyone to enjoy. we've shared what we've learned, so we can all produce energy more safely. bp's also committed to america. we support nearly two-hundred-fifty thousand jobs and invest more here than anywhere else.
4:58 pm
we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger. [ male announcer ] this is a reason to look twice. the stunning lexus es. get great values on your favorite lexus models during the command performance sales event. this is the pursuit of perfection. woman: what do you mean, homeowners insurance doesn't cover floods? [ heart rate increases ] man: a few inches of water caused all this? [ heart rate increases ] woman #2: but i don't even live near the water. what you don't know about flood insurance may shock you -- including the fact that a preferred risk policy starts as low as $129 a year. for an agent, call the number that appears on your screen. and his new boss told him two things -- cook what you love, and save your money.
4:59 pm
joe doesn't know it yet, but he'll work his way up from busser to waiter to chef before opening a restaurant specializing in fish and game from the great northwest. he'll start investing early, he'll find some good people to help guide him, and he'll set money aside from his first day of work to his last, which isn't rocket science. it's just common sense. from td ameritrade. otherworldly things. but there are some things i've never seen before. this ge jet engine can understand 5,000 data samples per second. which is good for business. because planes use less fuel, spend less time on the ground and more time in the air. suddenly, faraway places don't seem so...far away. ♪ he can talk to china, mongolia and all the koreas